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Intel MIC X100 Co-Processor Linux Driver Published

Intel

Published on 25 July 2013 08:38 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel
2 Comments

Intel has published open-source Linux kernel driver patches for their Many Integrated Core Xeon Phi X100 co-processors.

The Intel MIC X100 devices are add-in co-processors that run a modified Linux kernel and interact with the host system over PCI Express. By now you've likely read plenty about Xeon Phi and Intel's Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture if you are into high-performance computing.

Published on Wednesday by Intel's Sudeep Dutt were the Linux kernel enablement drivers for the host. Here's the key information from his Linux kernel mailing list post with the five new kernel patches:
An Intel MIC X100 device is a PCIe form factor add-in coprocessor card based on the Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture that runs a Linux OS. It is a PCIe endpoint in a platform and therefore implements the three required standard address spaces i.e. configuration, memory and I/O. The host OS loads a device driver as is typical for PCIe devices. The card itself runs a bootstrap after reset that transfers control to the card OS downloaded from the host driver. The card OS as shipped by Intel is a Linux kernel with modifications for the X100 devices.

Since it is a PCIe card, it does not have the ability to host hardware devices for networking, storage and console. We provide these devices on X100 coprocessors thus enabling a self-bootable equivalent environment for applications. A key benefit of our solution is that it leverages the standard virtio framework for network, disk and console devices, though in our case the virtio framework is used across a PCIe bus.
The Intel MIC X100 Linux kernel drivers amount to about 10,000 lines of new code. The patches introduce the MIC host driver, MIC card driver, the VirtIO interface over PCI Express for the card and host, and then a sample user-space daemon for implementing the VirtIO device back-ends on the host system.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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